Superintendent: RSU 13 will not restore teaching cuts
Rockland — Regional School Unit 13 officials have announced an additional $343,000 received in state education funds will be split between hiring teachers and reducing the tax burden in the 2014-2015 school budget.
The district will not be reinstating the Oceanside High School art and social studies positions or a sixth-grade teacher in St. George that were cut during the creation of the budget.
At a July 24 budget hearing, the public voted to take $343,000 in additional money and earmark it for the instruction budget, rather than use it to lower the tax impact to the six communities. Most of those who favored this action were from St. George, and said they wanted the art, social studies and sixth-grade positions restored.
On Aug. 13, voters in district towns passed a $27.2 million budget.
While the public at meetings can express opinions on how the money is spent, it is ultimately up to the district how to use the additional money.
"Because this is potentially, 'one-time only' and 'soft' money, we need to be very careful about committing the district to any long-term positions. Therefore, any expenditure would be carefully targeted based on enrollment changes and distinct need," Superintendent Lew Collins wrote in an email to the RSU 13 board, employees and media.
In the letter to staff, Collins outlined the way the funds will be used.
- South School would receive an Educational Technician lll for assistance in its third-grade classrooms ($30,000)
- When final enrollment figures are in for South School, it may need an additional third-grade classroom teacher. That decision will be made by Sept. 15. ($50-60K)
- St. George would receive an Educational Technician lll for assistance in sixth grade ($30,000). Math support will also be provided through existing staff.
- Restore the school instructional supply lines cut from last budget round ($26,000)
- Rockland District Middle School After-School program support: $10,000
"As tempting as it may be to rehire an art teacher and social studies teacher at the high school or a sixth-grade teacher at St. George, doing so would only increase our budget woes next spring," Collins said.
By implementing the items outlined above, Collins said there will still be nearly $200,000 available to help offset the budget increases in 2014-2015.
"We all realized that the long-term funding problems are still an issue and that we will return to the 2014-15 budget work with yet another deficit based on increased fixed costs and possible reduced state revenue," Collins said.
Collins said he believes this is "worthy compromise that respects both sides of the school budget voting perspective."
Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kim Lincoln has worked for Courier Publications since 2003, serving as a reporter, assistant editor and copy editor.
During her time with the company she has worked for each of the three newspapers, The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal.
When she is not in the newsroom, Kim likes to be outside, whether it be gardening, swimming, hiking or just enjoying the sunshine.
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